What grade would you hand out to the Patriots based on what we've seen so far during free agency?
Jason: So far, it's hard to give them anything less than an A. Had the Revis deal been a true two-year deal and not a one-year deal dressed up for cap purposes, I might give in an A+. The reality is this: the AFC is very much a two-horse race, and one of those ponies happens to have an elite passing game that put up video game numbers last season. The Patriots may well have been playing in the Super Bowl if they could've given Brady a few more shots with the ball. The best way to counter that Denver advantage is to turn their strength into a weakness. In signing Revis and Browner, the Pats have effectively mitigated the Broncos' biggest advantage.
Rick: I would give them a A- in free agency. Patriots’ fans have asked this team to make moves in free agency with Tom Brady’s window somewhat closing and they have done that. The best move was locking up Darrelle Revis for one year. Revis changes how teams plan to attack the Patriots’ defense and should be the force he was with the Jets in past seasons. Then, you bring in Brandon Browner. Browner will be motivated to prove himself after he serves his four-game suspension. Him and Revis could create Legion of Boom: East in New England. The key for me is the wide receivers. I like that the team brought back Julian Edelman, who is one of Brady’s security blankets. Plus, the addition of Brandon LaFell will be a good option in the slot at times and had good numbers with Cam Newton last season.
Kyle: At the risk of sounding like a complete homer, I'd give the Pats had a grade of A. Waking up Wednesday morning a finding out that Talib had signed with Denver caused me to fire my phone across the room and start the day with an F bomb. They were somehow able to sweat out a possible Revis trade (Oakland, like Denver apparently, has lots of cap room and had a distinct interest in Revis), and then convince him to sign a one-year (two maybe?) deal was a master stroke. The Brandon Browner acquisition was another outstanding move. He is one bad whiz quiz away from a year's suspension; but he is out the the environment (Seattle) where players mysteriously seem to fail tests with regularity. If you read more about Browner's spot in the NFL's drug program, you'll see that his status was escalated because he did not get tested while he wasn't in the league. Say what? So I guess it's legal for a company that you no longer work for to require you to take drug tests? My sense is that he has lawyers drooling at the prospect of kicking the NFL's backside in court. In other words, beyond the early-season suspension, this is not really an issue. Browner will be a significant upgrade over Steve Gregory. Resigning Julian Edelman is mammoth. Not only as a receiver, but as THE BEST PUNT RETURNER IN THE GAME. The guy is a game changer in that department. Brandon LaFell is a nice, big target who will push Aaron Dobson.
Derek: Looks like it's straight A's for the Patriots. Coming in, their biggest needs were to retain Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib. While they didn't bring Talib back, they one-upped themselves by bringin in Darrell Revis and then tacked on Brandon Browner for good measure. The Patriots may arguably have the best secondary in the entire NFL now, which is HUGE when the NFL has essentially turned into a real life game of Madden with passes being thrown all over the place. The Patriots are still going to be able to put up their numbers with Brady, but can now prevent shoot-outs by keeping their opponent's passing game under wraps. While certainly not "perfect", this early free agency period has been about as good as one could have hoped for New England.